Grzybowski & Gross Grab Back-to-Back Gold Issue Date: February 28, 2018
Coleman's Baldwin Claims Silver;
McLain and Martinson Both Medal
Saturday was like a mirror image of last season's WIAA Division III state championship for Coleman juniors Koltin Grzybowski and Caleb Gross, who each picked up their second state title in as many seasons.
Last season, Grzybowski was the state's first champion, as he finished off Stratford's Manny Drexler in just a minute in the 106-pound weight class. On Saturday, Grzybowski (45-2) had to wait a little longer, but he dominated Wittenberg-Birnamwood's Chad Moegenburg (44-9) to claim a 16-6 major decision in the final match of the 113-pound bracket.
Just as he did last year, Gross followed up Grzybowski's win with one of his own, winning by 6-0 decision over Weyauwega-Fremont's Cian Fisher (45-4).
The two, who are first cousins, said that this time around, the win is just as sweet, if not better.
"It feels even better to be able to get back to that high-level championship and do it again in another dominating fashion is awesome," Grzybowski said, with Gross echoing the same sentiment.
Gross, who wrestled one weight class behind Grzybowski at 120, said he felt confident following Grzybowski, though he admitted that the crowd got to him a little bit.
"At first it feels a bit nervous because you've got to live up to what he does, but I stay pretty cool. Once I see he does it, I figure I can do it too," Gross said of Grzybowski. "It gets you a little bit nervous, but you just have to keep a cool head."
While Grzybowski took the match to Moegenburg in the final, Gross (47-1) had to wait out Fischer, going into the third round tied at zero. He started the final round on the bottom, escaping for a one-point lead. He narrowly avoided a takedown by going out of bounds and reversed another to build a lead.
"I was pretty confident that if I did go down, I could still get out. I just thought to stay in my position and keep wrestling," he said.
"That's Caleb's style," Cougars Coach Kevin Casper said after the final match. "If you look at all of his matches when he has tough kids, they're always tight with him but he's a kid that doesn't ever give up position. He knows where he's at, he doesn't panic and he keeps his cool. He's always as cool as a cucumber."
Junior Jake Baldwin took second at 138, losing to Stratford's Jeremy Schoenherr (36-0), one of the state's best wrestlers, in the final matchup.
"Jake wrestled a great match. Jake has nothing to hang his head over, getting to the state final. He was right with him," Casper said. "The good news is that Jake has one more year and he's got one more step left on the podium."
Casper praised the work of his three wrestlers who made the finals and the entire team, which had seven qualifiers for state.
"All three of those kids (Grzybowski, Gross and Baldwin) are three kids in our program that have put in more time than probably any other wrestler and that's why they're at the state finals," Casper said. "It's a great tribute to them and it shows the younger kids what it takes to be a champion."
Shamus McLain (40-9), a sophomore, took fifth at 152 pounds in his second trip to state, and while it's an improvement from last year, when he did not place, he said he expected more.
"It's a little bit of improvement, but I'd rather have been on top of the podium where I should have been," McLain said.
"Shamus had a good tournament," Casper said. "They're all tough down here, obviously, and he did a great job. We're very proud of him."
Brock Martinson (285) took sixth in his weight class despite weighing less than 220 pounds.
"With some of these kids, he's probably giving up 60 pounds," Casper said. "He's got to learn to wrestle more like a heavyweight sometimes, but that's easier said than done when these kids are pushing 70 pounds heavier than you. For him to come out of here on the podium in sixth place, I couldn't be more proud of him as well. He did a nice job."
Bryce Karban (145) and John Bieber (160) each lost their first match of the tournament, but Casper had lots of praise for both of them.
Karban returned from injury just in time for regional competition, with Casper adding that "just for getting down here with the injury he had was a statement in itself."
Bieber led Mishicot's Sawyer Young (19-8) 8-3 in his first round matchup at 160, but he got caught out of position and was pinned.
"He outwrestled the kid. He just made a mistake and was out of position," Casper said. "He's only a sophomore and he'll have more opportunities."
With everyone on the team returning, Casper said the wrestlers have already started talking about next year.
"It's early, but the boys have been talking about it already," he said. "Hopefully we've got to bring a bus down here."
Florence/Niagara junior Tristen Mascarette lost his first-round matchup with Boyceville's Walker Retz (29-6) in the 113-pound weight class by pin in 2:22. At the end of the first round, he chose to start on the bottom, a move Mascarette said hurt him.
"I shouldn't have chosen bottom," Mascarette said. "He was more lanky and tall so I was balled up. I should have chosen neutral. It would have gone a lot better."
Jeff Conroy, Tristen's dad and coach, seemed to agree. "He's been struggling off the bottom for a while," Conroy said. "Being the first time he's been down here, I think nerves got the best of him. It's pretty intimidating coming into a big arena like this."
While the loss was disappointing, Mascarette and Conroy were pleased with the season, which ended at 36-4.
"I had a really good season," Mascarette said. "I was the only kid from my school to make it to state this year, so it was a good season. I hate to see it end this soon, but overall it was good."
Conroy said that getting to state has always been Mascarette's goal, and he was proud to see him achieve it.
"He put a lot of work in, and I'm still proud, Conroy said. We've got another year and we've got some things to work on and we'll fix it for next year. He grows every time we wrestle. He'll come away better for it."
Laona/Wabeno's Brenden Dorner lost his first-round matchup in the 132-pound weight class via pin against Cumberland's Reid Olson (41-7).
Dorner, Laona/Wabeno's winningest wrestler in school history with 142 wins, got caught in a bad position, but getting to state after three straight sectional losses was an accomplishment by itself.
"He's had an awesome season," Coach John Twardowski said. "He's a four-time sectional qualifier, but it just didn't end the way we wanted. He's very determined, and he's always one of the hardest workers at practice. He always has been.
Ausloos Takes Home D2 Silver
Holk Edged in First Round Match
After a dominant road to the first-place match in the Division II WIAA State Wrestling Tournament, Oconto Falls senior Dan Ausloos came painfully close to securing the top podium spot.
Ausloos, wrestling in the 285-pound weight class, pinned his first three opponents in under four minutes combined. He beat Northwestern's Morgan Berggren (28-7) in 1:25, Evansville/Albany's Branden Lange (43-7) in 1:50 and capped off his road to the final with a 19-second pin of Elkhart Lake/Howards Grove's Jon Roll, one of the fastest wins of the weekend.
The first-place match was just as quick, however, going in favor of Spencer/Columbus Catholic's Logan Zschernitz (43-2) in just over a minute to end the Oconto Falls senior's season at 36-4.
After qualifying for state but failing to place last season, Ausloos put in a lot of work in the offseason to get ready for another fun at state.
"He really picked it up in the offseason. We had high hopes," Marc Kinziger, one of three coaches for the Panthers said, complementing Zschernitz's abilities along the way. "That was a good kid. Take nothing away from him. We thought we maybe had a game plan for him, but when they're big like that, they go down and sometimes they don't come off their back as easy."
Kinziger said he wished Ausloos had another shot at him, but added that "Dan has nothing to be ashamed of."
Fellow North Eastern Conference wrestler Sean Holk will be looking to emulate Ausloos and his improvements from his junior to senior season, as Holk lost his first match of the weekend in the 182-pound weight class but gained valuable experience along the way.
Chetek's Daniel Chuchwar (32-7) beat Holk in an 8-4 decision to end Holk's season.
Chuchwar's speed was a factor in the match, Marinette Coach Jason Champagne said, pointing to his abilities on the football field.
"That's a tough kid. He's a really good running back for Chetek," Champagne said. "Sean's actually an offensive lineman for Marinette, believe it or not. He was a little bit quicker and I think Sean just had a hard time creating opportunities to score."
Champagne said the experience will benefit Holk as he tries to reach his goals next season.
"It was definitely a disappointing result in the loss but in perspective, just getting here was an accomplishment in itself and it's nice to be able to get down here," Champagne said. "Even if you lose, you still get the experience. Kids get wide-eyed really fast. Just for Sean to get here and get that experience is a really positive thing."
According to Champagne, Holk has set some pretty lofty goals for himself in his senior season.
"Marinette has never had a state champion in wrestling and I know that's Sean's goal. He wants to be Marinette's first state champion," Holk said. "He's definitely heading in the right direction and he's one of those guys that we fully expect to get back here next year, and not just come here to wrestle a match and lose. He's coming here to get a medal, and we're hoping it's a gold medal. Those are his expectations and it's going to be up to him whether he wants to put the work in."
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